Author: Rob Miklas

At Quality Incentive Company, Rob is responsible for leading the company’s business development efforts in both the employee recognition and sales/channel arenas. He has more than 10 years of experience in the recognition and incentive industry, having served as president and CEO of Atlanta-based Loyaltyworks before joining QIC in 2011.

Gamification – Of Leaderboards and Checkers Boards

gamification-leaderboards and checkers boardsAs I’m sure that our readers know, gamification is a pretty hot topic these days. However, what our readers may not know, or may not have thought much about, is that there can be confusion in the marketplace about the relationship between gamification and interactive games – especially games of chance. Here at QIC, we’ve studied this relationship extensively and I thought our readers might find our insights on the topic interesting. So, here goes.

To state it simply, gamification features or elements are not the same as interactive games. There a number of key distinctions. Let’s start with definitions, as articulated by our friends at Wikipedia.

  • Gamification is “the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g., point scoring, competition with others, [elite status attainment] and rules of play)” to a non-traditional area of activity, such as sales or marketing.
  • Interactive games of chance are characterized by “outcome[s that are] strongly influenced by some randomizing device.”

Gamification Elements in the Incentive Program Environment

And while definitions are valuable, it’s more important to understand how gamification and interactive games should be used in the incentive program setting. Here at QIC, we believe that gamification elements are optimally used to stimulate competition among participants, in turn creating stronger commitment to the activities being measured – such as sales quota attainment.

On the other hand, unlike gamification, which is related to skill or ability-related activities, games of chance should be regarded as related to (if not synonymous with) sweepstakes. Accordingly, such games of chance are subject to the same rules and regulations that apply to sweepstakes and should be used to reinforce simple actions (e.g., log-in to the program web site) or to deliver a “thank you” type reward.

The final dimension upon which these concepts differ is their visual depictions, as you might expect. For gamification, we employ graphical elements such as:

  • customized leaderboards,
  • badges, and
  • elite status progress-to-goal images.

All of these graphics are dynamically driven by program activity and serve to dramatically reinforce the game mechanics in use.

Alternatively, typical interactive games include the following “randomizing devices” (as noted in the definition above):

  • spin-and-win wheels,
  • hidden ball and cups, and
  • three doors (as used on a well-known television show).

In closing, please note that while distinctly different, both gamification and interactive games can significantly and positively impact the attractiveness and success of your incentive program. But it’s critically important to know how each approach is most correctly and effectively used. We invite you to contact us if we can help you with this important, and fun, topic.

Make No Mistake – Valuable Program Advice

I’ll open today’s post with a confession. While I regularly read and digest materials from industry publications, I don’t necessarily do so in a timely fashion. So, I hope that you’ll excuse me as I reference an article that appeared in the MarketingProfs newsletter several months ago. This article, Seven Common Mistakes Marketers Make ,… Read more »

A Program Design Dilemma

Here at QIC we’ve had a recent surge in requests for channel sales programs, and this brings to mind one of the primary program design challenges common to these types of solutions. Channel Sales Background Before discussing that specific challenge, let’s briefly review the characteristics of channel sales programs. First, these programs are typically used… Read more »

Favorite QIC Posts from 2015

It seems hard to believe, but the QIC Blog is approaching its third anniversary. Since its launch in 2013, my colleagues and I have enlightened you (or so we like to think) with over 150 posts, covering a wide range of topics related to recognition and incentive programs. We certainly hope that you have taken… Read more »